Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Friday said there was a need to reduce farmers’ dependence on chemicals and replace the existing farming methods with multi-crop, organic farming to make it more profitable.
He was addressing the second day of ‘Vaicharik Mahakumbh’ (ideology convention) in village Ninora near Ujjain. The convention has been organized on the sidelines of Simhastha fair in Ujjain.
“The farmers in the state are heavily dependent on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and once the crop fails they get overwhelmed by the debt. The need of the hour is to switch to organic farming. It will take time. We cannot do it overnight. We are making model farms and taking other necessary steps to spread organic farming,” he said. The chief minister was also critical of MNCs who he said were only interested in making profits.
Environmental activist Dr Vandana Shiva said the farmers’ suicide was linked to high input costs due to rampant use of chemicals. “Farmers today are spending too much money on chemicals and focusing on single crop instead of multi-crop patterns. The monopoly of MNCs on seeds such as Bt cotton is also harming our farmers. We need to nourish the soil through traditional multi-crop farming and switch to organic farming,” she said.
Rajya Sabha member Anil Dave gave example of farmers who have been practicing “zero budget” farming to drive home his point that input costs need to be reduced to make farming a profitable venture.
Baba Ramdev said that chemicals ingested through food and beverages were resulting in increasing incidents of fatal diseases such as cancer. “I have been in touch with 40 odd agriculture experts and have given them plots of different sizes to make model farms. It is entirely possible to earn an income of Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh from one acre farm using organic farming methods,” he said. Baba Ramdev also declared that he would turn farmland owned by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan into a model farm.
RSS sarkaryavaha (general secretary) Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi, politician and former Samta Party president Jaya Jaitley and other dignitaries also addressed the function.